I was getting really cranky at the end of the second Sunday panel. My hands were tired from all that crazy live-blogging, and my brain was tired from all that thinking. I wanted to get some lunch, but I was too beat to go wander out to Bedford Avenue and pick up a snack, so I figured I’d wait until the end of the conference and get something on my way home. I sat there, trying to let my brain relax a little.
There was no eating or drinking allowed in the auditorium where the panels were held. On Saturday a woman came and ate (noisily) behind me three different times and when she was done, she packed up and went to get a seat closer to the front. Sunday she came and sat right in front of me and did the same thing. I was trying so hard not to spread bad vibes in that space. The conference had been such a good experience for everyone, and I didn’t want to spoil anyone’s time. Besides, confronting people pretty much never makes me feel better. So I was biting my tongue. I’m sure there was some reason she felt the rule didn’t apply to her. I’m sure.
So I was sitting there, quietly fuming, when a woman walked up and stopped in front of me. I was ready for her to confront me, to have something to say about the fact that I’m typing during the presentation — a few people had given me the fish eye, as if I was sitting there checking my email while the panelists were talking. I was steeling myself for whatever she was going to say and getting ready to be a little belligerent in my response.
And then she asked if I could help her find a writers’ group. “There’s one thing I said I would get out of being here this weekend,” she said. “Do you know where or how I could find a writers’ workshop?”
My brain had to do a little shift, from belligerent to friendly. She a YA writer looking for a space to workshop “the novel I want to get out of my computer.” I certainly don’t know much about finding groups, but I took her card. I’m going to talk to the ladies in my group and also to a certain YA writer I know to see if I can get some suggestions … or maybe bring her into my group. We haven’t had a new member in a while, and we’ve never had a YA writer.
We exchanged business cards and she walked away. The annoying I-can-eat-in-here-when-no-one-else-can lady was still sitting in front of me, but she had disappeared. I was no longer bothered by her. Having that woman stop and check in with me pleased me. It was something about the realization that yes, you are in this place where you’re surrounded by writers, where you know you can ask a random stranger a very specific question and not have them stare at you as if you’re nuts. That really pleased me. Crankiness banished. I love how a little thing that seems to be so much nothing can change everything.